Carbohydrates are a type of macronutrient found in many foods and beverages and are one of our body’s main sources of energy, fibre, and nutrients.
Whether you’re looking to find out what carbohydrates are, or are concerned with improving your overall health, this article provides you with everything you need to know about complex and refined carbohydrates.
What Are Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates can be found in both healthy and unhealthy foods – everything from bread, beans, popcorn, and even soft drinks. There are two main types – complex and refined carbohydrates, these two sub-types can contain sugar, starch, and fibre.
Refined carbs are known as the ‘bad’ carbohydrates as these contain the most sugar, whereas complex carbs contain mostly starch and fibre, and are referred to as ‘healthy’ carbs. Starch contains fibre, calcium, iron and B-vitamins – providing your body with the nutrients it needs to function at its healthiest.
It’s recommended that you should fill your plate with mostly healthy carbs – vegetables (excluding potatoes) and fruit taking up half of your plate, as well as wholegrains filling about one quarter of your plate.
What Is the Difference Between Refined Carbs and Complex Carbs?
What are refined carbs? They include:
- White bread
- White pasta
- White rice
- Fruit juice
- Plus many more delicious treats
Refined carbohydrates, also referred to as simple carbs, contain a large portion of sugar and lack nutrients. This is because during the process of being refined, grains lose a wide variety of vitamins and minerals that contribute towards your overall health and wellbeing.
The body digests refined carbs quicker than complex carbohydrates as they contain shorter chain molecules. This means that the body converts them into glucose quicker causing a spike in blood sugar and quicker release of energy.
Regular consumption of simple carbohydrates may lead to a higher chance of weight gain, which is caused by the quicker processing of glucose – leaving you feeling hungrier and more prone to snacking and overeating. Therefore, it’s important that refined carbohydrates are an occasional treat rather than being consumed with every meal.
Complex carbohydrates includes:
- Sweet potatoes
These foods contain starch and are high in fibre, providing a wide range of health boosting properties. Healthy carbs have long chain molecules which allow them to digest and break down glucose slower, helping to reduce sugar cravings and leaves you feeling fuller for longer.
Complex carbs provide your body with longer lasting energy as opposed to causing blood sugar crashes – often leaving you feeling weak, hungry and dizzy. They also provide a variety of nutrients including B-vitamins and magnesium.
Our mykind Organics range of multivitamins for men and women are made from a wide variety of whole foods, fruits and vegetables – all classified as complex carbohydrates. It helps to support healthy skin, maintain normal nails, contribute to normal energy-yielding metabolism and reduce fatigue.